Kwita Izina: Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Video, Text + Photos

Kwita Izina: Detailed Guide to Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda. Kwita Izina: 6 facts you need to know about the gorilla naming. At the base of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, infant mountain gorillas were celebrated during the Kwita Izina naming ceremony.

In September, Rwanda hosts the world-famous Kwita Izina Ceremony, a gorilla naming celebration that honors the local community’s dedication to protecting the mountain gorillas from extinction.

Kwita Izina Ceremony

There is a lovely custom in Rwanda that involves naming rituals to honor the advent of a new baby. The Kwita Izina ritual, a September-held weeklong celebration, pays homage to this custom annually. Traditional practices and cultural importance date back generations. As such, it helps bring attention to the plight of the country’s mountain gorillas and generates financial support for efforts to preserve and extend these animals’ natural habitats. A lovely way to celebrate the birth of a new life while also lending your support to the cause of protecting these majestic creatures.

Kwita izina 2023 – Naming Ceremony

Kwita Izina: The Gorilla Naming Ceremony

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) established Kwita Izina in 2005, and since then, it has become a globally renowned model of ecotourism and conservation. The conference schedule is jam-packed with interesting events like seminars, lectures, and the much-anticipated gorilla naming ceremony. One of the most important parts of the occasion is the naming ceremony, which takes place on a bamboo platform that looks like a magnificent silverback gorilla. During this special event, the gorillas that were born in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in the past year are given names that are carefully selected. The participants carefully choose these names in order to portray the distinct characteristics and habits of the newborn gorillas. The Rwandan people have a deep belief that these names have magical powers that can bless and shape the lives of these precious babies.

Kwita Izina Cultural Festivities

Traditional music, mesmerizing dances, and energetic performances by students and artists from the area come together in a magical way during the Kwita Izina celebrations. Nestled at the slopes of the Virunga Massif, near the town of Kinigi, thousands of visitors include conservation circles, ranger teams, communities, worldwide luminaries, dignitaries, and even the president of the country, all of whom come to celebrate this big celebration.

Kwita Izina’s fundamental role in raising awareness about conservation and money from ticket sales is crucial. It is a rallying cry for the Rwandan people to celebrate their inherent bond with nature and protect their cultural legacy.

Kwita Izina : Gorilla Namers tasted the true Rwandan culture & traditions

Significance of The Kwita Izina Ceremony

Invoking blessings and protection, the yearly Kwita Izina festival has named more than 370 young gorillas since 2005. These gorillas represent Rwanda’s distinct stories and cultural history. Rwandans think that a baby’s name influences his or her personality and destiny. Names given to gorillas by park rangers before Kwita Izina had deeper significance; these names let researchers and rangers keep tabs on how each gorilla was doing both within and between habitats.

In Kwita Izina, the people of Rwanda express their hopes for the future and their common cultural goals for the nation as a whole. Statistics become dynamic life as each baby gorilla steps into the world at Kwita Izina. They are treasured gifts to their family, Rwanda, and the worldwide community.

The ceremony highlights the government’s and the people’s massive efforts to protect mountain gorillas, filling every Rwandan heart with immense pride. Among conservation success stories, Rwanda stands out for its unwavering dedication and pioneering role in sustainable tourism.

Rwanda’s Exemplary Conservation Commitment

One of only two remaining habitats for the critically endangered mountain gorilla species is the Virungas. Another notable attraction is the site of Dian Fossey’s seminal gorilla studies, which paved the way for the Karisoke Research Center to be founded. Together with the Rwandan government, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International works on educational projects, grants for park rangers, and community-based programs to carry on Fossey’s work. The mountain gorilla population in the Virunga Massif has increased from 242 individuals in the 1980s to over 600 now, a remarkable result of this conservation effort.

Not only have the gorillas benefited from Rwanda’s commitment to conservation and responsible tourism, but so have the local communities. A large portion of the region’s income has come from the trekking program, which gives tourists the opportunity to see the gorillas in their native environment.

The lifetime indirect revenue from tourism for a “habituated” mountain gorilla can reach around $3 million. The conservation efforts in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and other reserves are made possible by these grants. Even more encouraging of community involvement and cooperation is the fact that 10% of tourist income goes to the surrounding areas.

Kwita Izina is a celebration of the mountain gorilla population’s upward trajectory; the IUCN just upgraded the gorillas’ status from “critically endangered” to “endangered,” and this event is the clearest evidence of the effectiveness of Rwanda’s conservation efforts.

Notable Guests and Their Contributions

Notable people have left lasting impressions in previous issues of Kwita Izina. A baby gorilla named Inshungu—meaning “blessing”—was christened by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough at the same event in 2016.

To honor Dian Fossey—whose Rwandan name, Nyiramacibiri, means “the woman who lives alone on the mountain”—Dr. Stoinski chose the name Macibiri in 2017.

Former Arsenal footballer Laureano Bisan Etamé-Mayer named a baby gorilla Ikipe in 2018. Other meaningful names included Izahabu (meaning “precious”), Kunesha (meaning “to win”), and Uburumbuke (meaning “prosperity”).

At the Kwita Izina festival, the energy builds with every name announcement, as people cheer and express their optimism for the future of mountain gorillas in Africa.

Rwanda’s 2023 Kwita Izina | Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony – Highlights

Quick Facts About The Annual Kwita Izina Ceremony in Rwanda

  • Birth naming ceremonies are an integral part of Rwandan culture, and the Kwita Izina ceremony is a modern take on an age-old custom.
  • The Kinyarwanda word kwita izina signifies “naming” when spoken literally.
  • The community grounds in Kinigi, Musanze District, just outside Volcanoes National Park, northwest of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, are the site of the annual Kwita Izina celebration in September.
  • Baby mountain gorillas that were born in Volcanoes National Park the previous year are given their names during the Kwita Izina ceremony.
  • It all began in 2005 with Kwita Izina.
  • Kwita Izina has been the naming ceremony for more than three hundred and seventy mountain gorillas since 2005.
  • Kwita Izina is an opportunity for the Rwanda Development Board to show appreciation to the locals who live around Volcanoes National Park, the people who serve as veterinarians and research partners, and the dedicated individuals who work as rangers, trackers, and conservationists to ensure the safety of the gorillas.
  • The global population of mountain gorillas is around 1,063 individuals. Only in three East African countries—Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC—distributed among four national parks can you find these endangered mammals.
  • Tourists go to see mountain gorillas, which brings in a lot of money for conservation efforts and helps out local people.
  • Over the course of its lifespan, a mountain gorilla that is “habituated” to human visits can earn around $3 million from the tourism industry.
  • The gorilla naming ceremony for the 19th Kwita Izina will take place on Friday, September 1, 2023. In honor of the occasion, 23 newborn gorillas that were born within the last year will be given their names.

Combing Gorilla Trekking With Kwita Izina Ceremony

Visiting Rwanda in September and participating in the Kwita Izina ritual as well as trekking with gorillas in Volcanoes National Park might be an event you will never forget. Highlighting the resiliency of communities and the splendor of nature, the festival is a riot of music, dance, and joy.

Careful preparation of your gorilla expedition schedule is required if you want to fully enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Book your gorilla trekking permits in advance from official sources and make sure you have tickets or passes for the Kwita Izina festival. Set aside certain times for each event, and make transportation arrangements to and from the ceremony site and Volcanoes National Park. Also, make sure you follow all the rules and regulations that the park and event organizers have set up.

When it comes to planning the logistics of your gorilla safari, the local experts at The Bespoke African Safari Co. can be of great assistance. You may attend the gorilla naming ceremony and have an unforgettable gorilla trekking journey if you plan beforehand.

Rwanda highlights its outstanding achievements in gorilla conservation and invites the world to join an ongoing effort to protect these extraordinary creatures through the preservation and celebration of its cultural and natural heritage through the Kwita Izina festival.

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